Brad Keselowski Racing Post-Race Report: Phoenix International Raceway
No. 29 Checkered Flag Foundation/Fisher House Ford F-150
Chase Briscoe overcame early handling woes to earn a fourth-place finish in his first NCWTS race at Phoenix. Despite fighting with a Ford F-150 that was “plowing tight,” Briscoe survived a string of major late-race wrecks to score his ninth top five in the penultimate race of the 2017 season.
Taking the green from the eighth position, Briscoe immediately found that his Checkered Flag Foundation/Fisher House Ford F-150 was extremely tight in traffic, and he quickly dropped back to the 11th position. The 40-lap green flag run in Stage 1 did not provide the Brad Keselowski Racing team with an opportunity to adjust on their machine. When the stage conclusion finally allowed the team to provide service, crew chief Buddy Sisco called his driver onto pit road for four tires, fuel and both air-pressure and track-bar adjustments, and Briscoe returned to the track in 12th.
Stage 2 wasn’t much better for Briscoe. He continued to wrestle a truck that was so tight that the tires were chattering, and without a caution until the very end of the stage, the team was unable to assist him with his handling. When the yellow flag finally waved on lap 78, Briscoe was scored in the 13th position. Sisco and the crew once again took a big swing with air-pressure and chassis adjustments in addition to tires and fuel, and Briscoe took the green flag for the final stage from 13th.
By lap 123, Briscoe had dropped to 15th and was fending off the leader to stay on the lead lap, and the caution flag was fortunately displayed before he could be put a lap down. The team took one final swing at the No. 29’s handling, opting for four tires, fuel and both air-pressure and track-bar adjustments. Three major multi-truck incidents came in rapid succession beginning on lap 131. Each incident sent multiple trucks to the garage area and required extensive track clean up. Briscoe skillfully circumvented each scuffle, gaining positions on each restart. By lap 149, Briscoe had moved up into the seventh position, and he prepared for a two-lap sprint to the finish. In the closing laps, Briscoe darted up to the fourth position, ending the long night with his ninth top-five finish of the season.
Chase Briscoe: “Tonight was really a struggle, and I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever driven anything that handled like that. We were plowing tight and the tires were chattering, and the truck was bouncing all over the racetrack. It was a really weird feeling. We certainly didn’t have the best truck here tonight, but we kept working on it to make it better. My spotter, TJ Majors did a great job and was able to get me through all the chaos at the end. We got a top five the hard way, but I’ll take it. I’m ready to get to Homestead. It’s a track I’ve always felt would play into my skillset and dirt background. We’ve got one final race to get this team a win, and we’ve got a teammate in contention for the championship, so it’s going to be a big race for us as an organization.”
Starting Position: 8th
Finishing Position: 4th
Stage Wins: 0
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 6th